09.03.2009 - 15.03.2009
after an earthquake in the early 1900s, mendoza was rebuilt in a very logical manner, with wide avenues and a street grid that would make any engineer proud. to the north of the rather small city center resides a park commensurate in size to the center itself. the city and park together offer a pleasant environment for idle ambling, and idle we were for much of our stay here, as siestas, sundays, and holidays all seemed to have an intensely soporific effect on the city and its inhabitants.
mendoza is well-known wine country, and our hostel emphasized this by offering free all-you-can-drink wine 24/7. this hospitality was a bit of a double-edged sword, as it induced almost all of the hostel's guests, including us, to spend most nights at home rather than exploring the city's nightlife.
on top of the free hostel wine, we did a bike tour of a few of the vinyards located not too far from the city center. our expedition included a guided tour of a vinyard/wine museum, which juxtaposed relics from the very first days of american wine production, such as cow-hide grape presses, with modern technology and techniques. we were able to sample the grapes going into a cabernet sauvignon before we sampled a few different varieties of the final product, which, after a long, hot afternoon, made for an interesting bike ride back to home base, where we sat down to sample yet more wine.
most people we talk with cite mendoza as one of their most-liked destinations. we, however, were more than ready to leave after a few days.